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Redundancy and Retraining Costs

Volume 518: debated on Tuesday 16 November 2010

16. What estimate he has made of the cost to the Exchequer of redundancy and retraining requirements arising from implementation of proposals contained in the comprehensive spending review. (23979)

The total cost of work force reforms will depend on the decisions of hundreds, if not thousands, of employers up and down the country. Detailed decisions regarding the number of redundancies and the associated costs that may be required have yet to be finalised in most cases, so it would not be appropriate for the Treasury to speculate on any aggregate numbers at this stage.

In the police service alone, major job losses are already being announced, such as in the west midlands, Greater Manchester and Lincolnshire, so not only will there be up-front redundancy costs, but there will be the loss of skills and experience. Does the Chief Secretary agree that the cost of redundancies could be as high as £8 billion?

I have to say that that sounds like rather an overestimate, but the hon. Lady is right to say that employers are spelling out their own plans for redundancies and for managing their work force in an appropriate way. I recognise that many staff will be very concerned about that, but I believe that it is right that they hear about specific plans from their own management, rather than draw conclusions from higher level aggregate numbers.